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General Information

Information for Students Information for Faculty | Frequently Asked Questions


Information for Students

When should I come to the Writing Center?

Whenever you think it might be useful! We’re happy to work with you on your writing at any stage. You can come in with a full draft. You can come in with just an assignment sheet to brainstorm ideas about how to get started or to have a conversation that will lead to finding a topic. You can come with a thesis statement, an introduction, an outline, or any combination thereof. Remember that any piece of writing can always improve, so if your project could benefit from multiple visits, be sure to plan ahead and start coming to the WC early to maximize the benefit of our services. We’re happy to help you at any stage in your writing process, from initial brainstorming to drafting and revising or editing and polishing.

You can also come to the Writing Center if you just want a quiet place to work; we have a few desktop stations and tables for student use. Do note that priority for these stations will go to tutors and students with appointments, but if we're not busy come on in! We also anticipate a de-stress station coming soon this semester, so come and check it out!

What kinds of writing can I work on?

Just like we can help you at any stage in your writing process, we’re happy to work with you on any of your composition needs, from essays to lab reports, honors theses to proposal projects, or even creative writing. We provide feedback on scholarship essays, applications, resumes, or other professional materials. We assist with other assignments like speeches or power-point presentations. We'll even help you with time management and schedule planning! If you’re writing it, we’ll be happy to take a look and offer feedback.

What happens during a writing center appointment anyway?

Writing Center tutorials are essentially built around conversation. Your peer consultant will read through your work with you, allowing you to ask plenty of questions about your concerns and asking you  questions about your goals for the assignment. You’ll work together to find ways to articulate your intended meaning as effectively as possible. Many clients find that the hardest part about writing is moving the ideas into your head onto the page, and then marshalling them into Academic English or making sure they fit the guidelines of the specific assignment.

Writing Center consultants serve as a first trial audience for your work. They are another pair of eyes that help identify what is and isn’t working with your composition; they help you brainstorm new ideas or think about a subject more deeply; they galvanize you to express yourself clearly or better address the needs of the assignment. Their questions, comments, and suggestions are meant to help you analyze your own work critically for this and future writings. The Writing Center will not copy edit or write your paper for you: tutor sessions are meant to be collaborative to engage you in the process and eventually teach you the skills you need to think and write critically on your own.

Who are these writing consultants?

Most of the writing consultants are Trine students just like you who have been recommended to their positions because of their abilities as writers and communicators. Writing Center consultants come from all majors and disciplines, so if you have a particular project or piece of writing you’re working on, you may even be able to find a tutor who shares your major, has taken the classes you’re currently enrolled in, or even previously completed a similar assignment or project. Check out the Staff tab when making an appointment to find a match.

How can I become a Writing Center Consultant?

If you're interested in tutoring in the Writing Center, you can fill out an application online and request that your professors provide the Director with a recommendation of your skills and suitability for service in the WC. Contact Dr. Janelle Pulczinski, Writing Center Director, at pulczinskij@trine.edu with questions about tutoring.

Information for Faculty

Best Practices for Required Visits

Required visits help students better recognize the importance that you place on writing; they also have the potential to improve the quality of the papers you receive.  We often find students who might never have considered using the Writing Center discover the benefits of our services, prompting them to return even when they aren’t required to do so.

Experience has shown that “required visits” can be a great deal more productive if instructors are willing to create certain expectations about the visit among their students. In particular, you can help us out in the following ways:

  1. Please require your students choose 2-3 specific issues they want to address when speaking to a tutor about their papers. When students arrive with no end goals (“She just told me it’s required,” they'll say), they end up with unproductive sessions. Alternatively, the student will say “just check my grammar,” which usually means the student hasn’t given much thought to how he or she might improve the paper and/or isn’t prepared to do the deep work of revision.The Writing Center isn't meant to be only a grammar-checking or editing service, so students who come expecting this approach may leave frustrated.
  2. Please encourage (or require) your students to make an appointment, as opposed to just dropping in. Doing so helps spread out the workload a bit; it also makes the students more intentional about the whole process. They can make appointments using the online appointment form.
  3. Set a deadline for the visit well before the submission deadline for the paper to ensure students have time to make appointments and implement revisions. Also, if possible, create a system when scaffolding your assignment that staggers the deadlines. Past experience suggests that students will often put off these visits until the last minute, which may create too much demand for appointments on a particular date and thereby overwhelm the system. Moreover, students tend not to be very interested in the advice they receive in such compromised circumstances, because — as they have sometimes said — “I don't have time to fix it.” If the paper is due on Thursday the 28th, choose a date earlier in the week (the 26th at the very latest) as the last day to make a required visit to the center. Even better, require a certain part of the alphabet to do it by the 24th, another part by the 25th; you might consider awarding extra credit for people who make appointments early. Making appointments early is especially important if your class has more than 20 students. The more time you can give students to make appointments and then make revisions based on their sessions, the better the experience will be for all.
  4. If possible, send us a copy of the assignment and any specific criteria or challenges ahead of time, noting due dates and dates by which a visit is required. With this information, the tutors can be better prepared for required visits. Our tutors always ask students to see the assignment anyway; many don’t have it with them or can’t find it. This problem obviously occurs in a variety of cases, not just when students are assigned to visit the Writing Center — but when visits are assigned, this at least gives us an opportunity to address the problem by providing the tutors with it ahead of time.

Scheduling Infomation Sessions, Workshops, or In-class Peer Review

The Writing Center will always be happy to accommodate any writing needs your course may have within your classroom! If you'd like a Writing Center ambassador to visit your class for an informational session, for help with workshopping, as an extra set of eyes on peer review days, or other writing-focused projects you are considering, please contact Janelle Pulczinski at pulczinskij@trine.edu to make arrangements.

Tutor Referrals

Are you teaching a writing-intensive course and have students who excel at writing and/or helping their classmates understand concepts of composition? I'm happy to take referrals for tutors, especially students in the STEM, Health Science, or Business fields (most of the tutors who work at the center come through Instructor Referrals). Send me an email or use the tutor referral form located on the Writing Center website.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the Writing Center located?

The Writing Center is on the first floor of the LINK, just beyond the help desk. Look for the Writing Center signs near the entrance!

When can I receive help from a tutor?

The Writing Center is open for online, e-tutoring, and in-person appointments Monday through Friday from 10 AM to 3 PM. Evening hours, which are online only, are Monday through Thursday from 6 PM to 8 PM.

What assignments can the Writing Center help me with?

The Writing Center helps with all forms of writing assignments! This includes essays, technical writing projects, lab reports, resumes, visual aids, applications, and speech planning. We also help with any stage of the writing process, from brainstorming to final editing.

How do I schedule an appointment with a tutor?

If this is your first visit or you haven't already done so, register for an account on www.trine.mywconline.com (the process takes about 3 minutes). After you register, sign in to the site, which will take you to our scheduling calendar. Click on any of the white boxes to schedule an appointment with the corresponding tutor at that time. Follow the on-screen instructions, then press “create appointment” at the bottom of the page. For additional assistance, feel free to visit the Writing Center in the LINK or email us at writingcenter@trine.edu.

What kind of appointment should I make?

Whichever kind of appointment best fits your needs! We have three different types of appointments:

1) Face-to-face tutoring allows the tutor to hold a conversation with you, providing more detailed assistance. You will meet in the Writing Center and can request written feedback from the tutor.

2) Online zoom meetings offer a similar experience to face-to-face if you are unavailable to meet in person; you should attach your assignment to the appointment with an online session.

3) E-tutoring is great for submitting mostly complete documents for review and feedback. With these appointments, you don't meet with the tutor, but will receive extensive feedback on an assignment you submit when you make the appointment.

Do I need an appointment to meet with a tutor?

No, walk-ins are welcome! Keep in mind, though, that tutors will prioritize scheduled appointments and may not be available for a walk-in. You can schedule your appointment at any time (even 1 minute before you want to meet, if there are open time slots!)

Who should I make an appointment with?

Our tutors come from many backgrounds, and some specialize in different fields. Feel free to schedule an appointment with a tutor who specializes in your topic or a generalist who can assist with anything. The calendar will list the tutors' specialties under their names.

How much of my paper needs to be done to make an appointment with a tutor?

The Writing Center helps with all stages of the writing process. Research, development, thesis statements, grammar, and organization are all topics we can help with! We don't, however, recommend coming in with nothing done on your paper if it's due within 24 hours of your appointment!

How long should I schedule an appointment for?

Appointments should be long enough for the tutor to read your entire submission from scratch, and provide feedback.Typically we can get through a short assignment within 30 minutes. If your submission is longer than 5 pages, it is safer to reserve an hour window or longer for reviewing.

What should I bring to my appointment?

To best assist you,  please provide tutors with the assignment guideline or rubric, professor comments, and any other information on your assignment. If you have a draft of your paper already, attach it to your appointment (some tutors will request this for all appointment types so they can prepare before you get there).